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Report Indicates that Spain is Under-Reporting Incidence of Mesothelioma

One of the most important aspects of coming up with appropriate and timely responses to a mesothelioma diagnosis is the prompt diagnosis of the disease, and from a public health perspective, it is equally important that government health agencies acknowledge that the condition is present. In Spain, health care advocates are expressing concern following a study into how mesothelioma is reported in that country. They have identified evidence of what they are calling “gross under recognition” of malignant pleural mesothelioma in that country.

The researchers have published the results of their study in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health. The study was conducted by the Ministry of Health in Madrid and the Department of History of Science at the University of Granada. The report cites evidence that despite the fact that mesothelioma and other asbestos related occupational diseases were added to a list of occupational diseases as long ago as 1978, their inclusion on the list has had not impact – according to the study, “There are no full accounts of compensated cases since their inclusion.”

The study analyzed how many asbestos-related cancers associated with occupational exposure had been identified in Spain and compared those numbers to the incidents of mesothelioma in the rest of the European countries. The analysis of reporting was extremely granular, breaking down incidence by economic activity, occupation and mortality. The findings were extremely clear. Between 1978 and 2011 there were only 164 reports of asbestos-related occupational cancers in Spain, a number which represented 0.08 for every 100,000 employees in the country. Viewing these numbers as they relate to other European countries, the differential was stark – the mesothelioma rate was higher in every other country, and statistical was as high as 7.32 per 100,000 employees in the country of Norway. The researchers concluded that Spain is not only underreporting the incidence of mesothelioma, but by definition is also undercompensating its victims.

According to Montserrat Garcia-Gomez of the Ministry of Health, “Under-recognition rates were an estimated 93 to 96 percent in males and 99.7 percent for females for pleural mesothelioma and 98.8 percent in males and 100% in females for bronchus and lung cancer.” Garcia-Gomez is one of three scientists who authored the study. The researchers are demanding greater investigation into mesothelioma incidence and better education as to the impact of asbestos.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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